Ken Wentworth


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The new colonisation

Posted on June 1, 2016 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (1)
Collective cultural metadata is the new frontier to be explored, analysed and colonised. We are single cells or specimens in the metephorical petri dish that is the ephemeral digital matrix that we all inhabit. A systematic virtual structure that encloses, envelopes and entraps us by 'choice' in an addictive constructed cultural landscape. Text inspired by artwork: Metadata Petri Dish, 2015.

Grasping at outdated constructs

Posted on May 19, 2016 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (0)
Is our culture grasping onto outdated constructs, moving vacantly forward, mindlessly following rules of engagement and holding onto an empty sense of security. Blocking out peripheral cultural complexities, in an attempt to deny the need for cultural and societal change. As the world very slowly falters, and we lack collective conviction to agree to do anything about it. Basically, we keep shopping, feathering our nests and following outdated cultural frameworks as the world metaphorically and literally disintegrates around us. Text inspired by artwork: You claw at your cultures mixed bag of emptiness (Misha Barton), 2008.

Social network mapped

Posted on May 7, 2016 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Our collective minds are the next terrain to be mapped and surveyed, as we negotiate the digital and physical landscape. Manipulated by click bait, that we consume oblivious or ambivalent to the fact that our 'likes', clicks and chance views of our media feed are used to analyse the landscape of our collective minds by multinational corporations and government security agencies. We become nodes in a circuit of collective data that is compiled via stealth, but by our 'consent' due to terms and conditions that we agreed to and yet did not read. Is digital media the new nicotine or sugar, impacting on more than our health, skilfully interwoven market research and government surveillance under the guise of social connections with our friends and family, surreptitiously eroding our discernment, social and intellectual faculties. Text inspired by artwork: Social network mapped, 2015.

Are our infantile fantasies of 'Perfection' making our society selfish and self involved?

Posted on April 23, 2016 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Are we processing our lives through a filter; cultural, digital and psychological. Presenting an edited and idealised self image and persona. But at what expense? Does this self imposed 'filter' inadvertently make us self involved and selfish, is the selfie the epitome of being self involved and oblivious to a deeper understanding of the world. Are we so seduced by the need to present an idealised self, both in the digital and real world, that we risk becomimg a society of self involved vacuous individuals who's only interest is creating the 'perfect' timeline and the matching manufactured false life.... [Coral bleaching is not the only 'bleaching' we should fear, however interrelated!] Text inspired by artwork: Beach side musings on perfection (Lara Flynn-Boyle & Drew Barrymore), 2008.

Are we losing grip?

Posted on March 27, 2016 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)
We are holding onto our future as it hangs perilously, our cultures pending demise being dependant on our collective actions. Holding onto outdated thought patterns, cultural infrastructures and histories at our peril. Dangling in a delicate predicament, where the future we hold in our hands can fall from grace. Hovering, and potentially slipping from our collective hands, as we blindly move forward, oblivious to the impending oblivion we co-create. Text inspired by artwork: Losing grip (Michael), 2005.

How they hunt cattle

Posted on March 19, 2014 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (0)

'We have got the fruit of creation now, and need not trouble ourselves with the core. Every conceivable object of Nature and Art will soon scale off its surface for us. Men [women] will hunt all curious, beautiful grand objects, as they hunt cattle in South America, for their skins [images] and leave the carcasses [physical form, object or person] as of little worth.'

Ewen, Stuart.   All consuming images: The politics of style in contemporary culture (Basic books, 1988)

Emptiness filled with signs

Posted on March 18, 2014 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)

'We are surrounded by emptiness, but it is an emptiness filled with signs.'

Lefebvre, Henri. Everyday life in the modern world

Not something natural, but cultural.

Posted on March 3, 2014 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Collages and ready mades are testimonials to the fact that all forms of representation whether they be pictures or words or gestures - are dependent on cultural languages. What we know and represnent is not something natural, but cultural, and does not exist in an ideal essence but is shaped by history.


Staniszewski, Mary-Anne.  Believing is seeing - Creating the culture of art. 

All things noneconomic pass out of view.

Posted on February 3, 2011 at 6:05 AM Comments comments (0)

'As society externalizes, all things noneconomic pass out of view. As the university increasingly comes under the markets sway, this means that all aspects of intellectual life that are not directly relevant to increasing market productivity will inevitably be devalued'

Stiles, Paul.  Is the American Dream Killing you ( Harper Collins, 2005)

The bubble.

Posted on February 1, 2011 at 5:24 PM Comments comments (0)

'We can describe the bubble two ways, the first being what it stands for. The bubble is a world of entertainment, pleasure, and fun where happiness is derived from material things and sensual experience, where there are no limits on personal freedom, and where there are no consequences for our actions. Alternatively, we can define the bubble by what it opposes: the bubble exists to deny reality to us, to keep us from our truth, be it moral, cultural, spiritual or aesthetic. Truth is like a pin, poised to pop the bubble'

' The bubble thus represents the great narrowing of human horizons away from ulimate questions of meaning and purpose, being and existence, soul and god, and towards the cash register. The dulling of the intellect, the decline of philosophy, of religion, of literature, and the humanities in general, all begin here'

Paul Stiles Is the American Dream Killing you ( Harper Collins, 2005)


Posted on January 16, 2011 at 3:18 AM Comments comments (0)

'NOWADAYS, MEN [women] OFTEN FEEL that their private lives are a series of traps. They sense that, within their everyday worlds, they cannot overcome their troubles, and, in this feeling they are quite correct: What ordinary men [women] are directly aware of and what they try to do are bounded by the private orbits of which they live... In other milieux, they move precariously and remain spectators'

J.M Henslin Down to earth sociology (Free Press, 2007)

Notes from VCA lecture 13/08/96

Posted on September 12, 2008 at 10:53 AM Comments comments (0)
Images become nature - constructed cultural activity becomes natural.
How does the artist function within this?
Text has become novel - images are now more prevalent... functioning in a suggestive, emotive and seductive manner.
'coloured light echoing illusions' (television)
How has the image been constructed?
The postmodern photographer (artist) is a manipulator of signs, rather than a producer of art objects.
The viewer becomes an active decoder of images.
Analogy of painting to cosmetics - painting conceals the image it tries to reveal.

My mind has been block-BUSTED by your cultural wasteland.

Posted on May 24, 2008 at 9:33 AM Comments comments (1)
Why do people bother keeping up with the latest bland offerings from our 'block-busted' cultural wasteland?... Blah.... Bah hum bug!!! lol... Its enough to make you paint by numbers! - thats what I do anyway, reworking the meaningless trash into some kind of order - colour by colour, shape by shape... in the end all you can do is laugh at and comment on the black comedy that is being a part of this revolving door of NOTHING (which much like the bubbles of nothing in an Aero Bar - are really something?) ... to reveal life for the joke it really is. For all our progress - our wide screen TV's, our endlessly updating and 'improved' gadgets... in the end it all means nothing - the integrity and depth of the relationships that we have with our friends and loved ones is all the matters... all the rest is superfluous.

Can our deeply interconnected world deliver prosperity to everyone? ...

Posted on October 23, 2007 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)
'The attack on America raised so many questions, among them, questions about the dangers of the new world economy. Is terrorism the dark side of globalization?...Can our deeply interconnected world deliver prosperity to everyone? ...

We are living through a revolution. The 1990s saw the creation of a new kind of global economy, a single market in which everyone has a stake, but no one has control.

Globalization has brought unprecedented prosperity, but it has also brought crises and risks we are only beginning to understand. It has unleashed a worldwide debate about wealth and poverty, about the "rules of the game" for this new era of globalization.

The sum total of global wealth expands, but its unequal distribution increases'


displacing our anxieties

Posted on June 9, 2007 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

 'I think we are displacing our anxieties and our isolation into these received lives, and it's a safe and passive way for us to not have to think about our problems and the fact that we are complicit with terrible political situations.'

Sue Dodd.


Why celebrity portraits are just fake art

Posted on April 29, 2007 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

We have celebrity defendants in murder trials and celebrity candidates for elections, and can watch minor celebs on celebrity quiz or reality shows. And if the mainstream media is momentarily distracted from their meretricious doings by war or climate change, there are always specialist celeb mags and cable channels.

If there's one thing the fans love even more than a celebrated and worthless life it's an appropriately tawdry ending, preferably by overdose. Though I'd managed to be blissfully ignorant of Anna Nicole Smith?s existence, it became compulsory after it ended. As are the lives and lofty examples of our thuggish sports stars (now, there?s another devalued word) and the antics of the Barbie Doll army. Not to forget those other role models - the drug-addled models who totter like derelicts up and down the catwalks.

Semi-talented rock stars, boof-headed rugby players who treat women like dirt and gross businessmen whose claim to fame rests on obscene salaries join the conga line of those notorious for their notoriety.

What's going on here Are our lives so meaningless, so lacking in imagination or energy that we have to waste our time, money and neurons on this human trash It's a serious social illness if for no other reason than these useless idiots distract us from the achievements of people who really are worthy of our attention.

All this came to mind when I was helping launch the Caroline Chisholm Education Foundation in Melbourne, a marvellous venture to help kids over the hurdles. Chisholm was a secular saint, one of those indomitable women who profoundly changed the world around them, whether that world was Madras or Melbourne, Sydney or the bush. In her day she was cherished as a hero, a reputation gained through her work, not through a personal publicist. Now we see her face on our money - but not one in a hundred knows a damn thing about her.

Yet who isn't cursed with the knowledge of Paris Hilton This trashiest of all celebs makes the trailer trash on Jerry Springer look like European aristocracy. Eliminating junk email isn't the problem. How do we screen out all further reference to this megabrat.

Real fame, enduring fame, relates to achievement - whereas celebrity relates to ratings, cover stories and social pages. I'm not saying they don't blur and overlap, that mass marketing cannot commidify authentic, genuine fame and make it into nonsense - symbolised in the T-shirts of Einstein poking out his tongue at the celebrity he'd never wanted or sought. The full-time celeb wants and seeks nothing else.

Fame is often an unintended consequence of work in a lab, a jungle, a hospital, at the coalface of suffering. Whereas celebrity is pursued for its own sake, pulled along by a dog-team of showbiz hacks. At fever pitch for decades, the psychopathology of celebrity now seems a terminal disease - eclipsing the work of the unsung heroes who cure terminal diseases.

The opposite of fame isn't obscurity so much as infamy. (Somehow 'fame' seems inappropriate to a Hitler.) In a sense anonymity is the antonym of celebrity but, on another level, celebrity is its own opposite. The word evokes triviality, inconsequence, worthlessness. The only good thing Celebrity has the shelf-life of yoghurt. Celebrities are tissues (you choose between facial and toilet) compared to the chiselled marble of enduring reputation. Though as a trip to Westminster Abbey reminds us, even marble has its use-by date.

We live in an era when more US citizens vote for contestants on TV's American Idol than for their presidency (and then elect and re-elect a dolt like Dubyah), in a time when Paris Hilton defames both a hotel chain and a city, when Madonna can happily infringe the Vatican's copyright, and the Dalai Lama depends on the endorsement of Richard Gere. You wonder whether the weather is, after all, the greatest of human crises. Isn't the gush and tosh of celebrity culture (sic) every bit as threatening.

With climate change, we might all be drowned by rising sea levels. But wouldn't you rather drown in seawater than in the rising tide of celebrity bullshit?'

Source:  ( Saturday, April 28, 2007)

Make over culture.

Posted on April 16, 2007 at 3:13 AM Comments comments (0)

'We live in an image based culture, in which most of the images we see come out of Hollywood, most of them are faces, and most of them are faces that have had cosmetic surgery. All of us are part of that culture, its not something that is going to go away.


Makeover culture refers to all sorts of things that we feel the need to makeover, so those could be; buildings, houses, our careers, our bodies and faces, our gardens, our homes, and I think that is what cosmetic surgery is about, its not about achieving a point of beauty that is static and final and definite, its actually about showing that you are a happening individual in makeover culture... that you are in a continual  process of self improvement.'

 Meredith  Jones - Author "Makeover Culture" 

'A lot of people like to renovate the house, um decorate. I like to renovate me, and decorate me. I don't think it's vain, because I mean, people may say its vain, but they have there hair coloured, they wear high heels, they wear bras, they put make up on, and are still announcing themselves, so i consider this announcing me, I hope.'


Joan Wilkinson - Cosmetic surgery veteran

Source: (16 April, 2007)


about representation

Posted on April 15, 2007 at 7:01 AM Comments comments (0)

'But suppose we thought about representation, not in terms of a particular kind of object (like a statue or a painting) but as a kind of activity, process, or set of relationships. Suppose we de-reified the thing that seems to stand before us, standing for something else, and thought of representation, not as that thing, but as a process in which the thing is participant, like a pawn on a chessboard or a coin in a system of exchange. This would bring us back to the notion of representation as something roughly commensurate with the totality of cultural activity, including that aspect of political culture which is structured around transfer, displacement, or alienation of power. culture understood as an economy, a system of exchanges and transfers of value'


Mitchell, W. J.T, Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation. (1994, University of Chicago Press)